Washington, Feb 20 : A collaborative study in India, Korea, Indonesia and Mozambique has found that the Indian city of Kolkata has the second highest incidence of cholera in the world.
The study, mapping three impoverished regions of the world - Jakarta (Indonesia), Kolkata (India), and Beira (Mozambique) - concluded that young children bear the brunt of the disease most in these three regions.
And out of these three places, Beira in Mozambique, according to the rescuers, has the highest incidence of cholera, ahead of Kolkata and Jakarta.
For the study, Jacqueline Deen from International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, Korea and colleagues in Indonesia, India, and Mozambique established cholera surveillance based at treatment facilities at these three sites.
The lowest overall cholera rate was in Jakarta with 0.5 cases per 1000 population per year. The incidence was three times higher in Kolkata (1.6/1000/year) and eight times higher in Beira (4.0/1000/year), adding to the growing impression of a large cholera problem in Africa.
And in all sites, the most affected were children.
"Cholera is an often forgotten disease affecting the world's forgotten people. When a large cholera outbreak occurs, the disease appears briefly on the radar of public attention. Some unfortunate populations around the world suffer recurrent episodes of cholera but their plight goes unnoticed," say Deen and colleagues.
The authors argue that the new estimates from their study are important when considering where and among whom interventions against cholera are most needed.
"Improvement of water supply and sanitation is the best strategy against cholera and other diarrheal diseases, but may not be achievable in these impoverished areas in the near future. Other immediate, short- to medium-term strategies such as vaccination against cholera may be useful," say the authors.
The study is published in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.